Dunbar's Number

Dunbar's Number

What is it?

Dunbar's number is a theoretical cognitive limit to the number of stable social relationships a person can maintain, which is approximately 150 individuals.

When to Use It: Dunbar's Number is a concept you might consider when building or managing social networks, communities, or organizations. It's an idea that helps us understand the limitations of our social interactions and relationships.

Think of your social circle as a city filled with people. You are the mayor, and you need to remember each citizen's name, their face, and a little bit about their personal life.

Dunbar's Number suggests that you can effectively manage about 150 citizens. This means that:

  1. If your city has 150 or fewer citizens (like a small company or community), you'll probably know everyone fairly well. You'll remember their names, you'll recognize their faces, and you'll know some personal facts about them.

  2. However, if your city has hundreds or thousands of citizens (like a large company or online community), it will be much harder to maintain the same level of personal connection with everyone. In this case, you'll likely end up knowing a lot about a few people (your close network), a little about some people (your extended network), and virtually nothing about most people (your distant network).  


In summary, Dunbar's Number helps ...